Dunkirk 评价人数不足
读书笔记 Introduction
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敦刻尔克的失败被描绘成巨大胜利,真相从此让位于传说,而传说一旦形成,自有其长久的生命力

As a nation rejoiced, the reality of what had happened was obscured. A disastrous defeat was somehow turned into a great victory. Yet as in all victories, it had come at a price – the surrender of the truth to a myth that has survived longer than most of the soldiers involved.

国家政治机器为了宣传需要,起初是低调处理这次大撤退的,报纸被禁止报道

At first the evacuation had remained a secret. Newspapers were quite simply forbidden from reporting the events in France. Although the BEF had suffered a crushing defeat, the British people were not to be told of its humiliation. The fact that the BEF had been routed on the battlefield and driven back to the coast was not for public consumption. There was no choice but for the army to withdraw to England to lick its wounds.

后来士兵们被大量送回英国,想捂也捂不住了,新闻报道就开始搞 spin,硬把失败报道成一次巨大胜利。大众当然就接受了这种说法,因为记者、将军、政客都希望大众接受这样的说法

As the troopships, destroyers, barges, trawlers, ferries and pleasure boats disgorged the vanquished army it soon became clear that the defeat could be concealed no longer. So the news was released and the story turned upside down, with the humiliation of defeat reported as a victorious escape. Even three days in, on 31 May, the first BBC report on the evacuation stressed that the British Army was returning home ‘undefeated’. This was far from the truth, but the public knew no different. Indeed no one – not the journalists, politicians nor generals – wanted them to know different. The news was bleak, but for the people of an increasingly isolated nation this was something to celebrate – their sons had come home.

伤病与士气低落的部队被选择性忽视,英国媒体着力报道了哪些看起来高昂的士兵们。对丘吉尔而言,这是一次宣传战的胜利

While wounded, sick and dejected troops were hidden from sight, the British press heralded the men who had returned with a smile on their faces. Those who came home waving from train carriages, clutching their souvenirs, giving the thumbs-up and kissing the women who handed out tea and buns at railway stations became a thing of legend. … In the skilful hands of Britain’s new prime minister, Winston Churchill, the BEF’s return became a propaganda triumph.

战争结束后很久,历史学家开始重新看待敦刻尔克,但是大众仍然不了解英军是如何突然被击败的,是不了解英国各级军官的错误,也不知道那些拒绝从敦刻尔克地堡撤离的酒醉士兵们。因为大众需要的只有传说而已,军队训练不足,士兵在登船时被枪弹扫死,这些东西不是他们想知道的。而且有超过10万的英军不是从同一个港口撤走的

Yet hidden beneath this tale was an untold story. As time passed, historians revisited the Dunkirk story many times but the public had not yet learnt how the army had been unceremoniously defeated. They did not hear of the failure of BEF officers at all levels. Nor did they read the details of drunken soldiers who refused calls to leave the cellars of Dunkirk and proceed for embarkation. In the mythology there was no room for tales of the failure of a poorly trained army, nor for stories of men scrambling to board boats being shot or forced away at gunpoint. Nor was the full story revealed of how the figures for the miraculous Dunkirk evacuation only talked of men who escaped via one port. Forgotten were more than 100,000 men whose escape to the UK came via a host of other coastal towns, from Normandy to the Bay of Biscay.

英军撤退了留下了大量物资弹药补给,而最触目惊心的是没能撤走的那 68,111 人。其中成千上万已经战死,大约还有活着的4万士兵成为了德军的战俘。

As the boats sailed off they had abandoned 2,472 guns, nearly 65,000 vehicles and 20,000 motorcycles. In the chaos of retreat they had also left behind 416,000 tons of stores, over 75,000 tons of much-needed ammunition and 162,000 tons of petrol.
More shocking than all this, however, was a single chilling statistic – 68,111 men of the BEF did not return home across the Channel at all. Thousands were the dead, wounded or missing but almost 40,000 British soldiers were alive and already being marched off into a captivity that would last for five long years.

一个英国家庭 Reeves 当时庆祝大儿子 Les 从法国平安归来,家里的欢乐气氛持续了数日,妹妹 Ivy 突然问了一个沉重的问题:“等等,我们的 Eric 也去法国了,他在哪里?” 这个家庭的小儿子 Eric 此时正步履沉重地走向德军的战俘营,他还要等待五年才能活着回到英国去讲述他自己的故事。正如他那4万名战俘营中的兄弟一样,他们都是在敦刻尔克被遗忘了的英雄。

At the Reeves family home in Reigate, a mother, father and siblings celebrated the safe return of their eldest son, Les, from France. For them, the nation’s collective relief had been a very personal one – their boy had survived. The joyous mood in the house continued for a few days until a lone voice cut through the celebrations. It was Ivy, the soldier’s sister. She had been thinking and had suddenly realized something was missing. Finally she asked the question that had been troubling her: ‘But hang on a minute, didn’t our Eric go to France as well? Where’s he?’
In all the excitement their younger son had been forgotten. As they spoke, nineteen-year-old Eric Reeves was trudging forlornly along the roads of northern France, destined for a German prisoner of war camp. It would be five years before he would return home to tell his story. Like almost 40,000 of his comrades, he was one of Dunkirk’s forgotten heroes – one of the men they left behind.
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